Thomas H. Solomon, Professor of Physics
We present experimental studies of reaction front propagation in a single vortex flow with an imposed external wind. The fronts are produced by the excitable, ferroin-catalyzed Belousov-Zhabotinsky chemical reaction. The flow is generated using an electromagnetic forcing technique: an almost-radial electrical current interacts with a magnetic field from a magnet below the fluid layer to produce the vortex. The magnet is mounted on crossed translation stages allowing for movement of the vortex through the flow. Reaction fronts triggered in or in front of the moving vortex form persistent structures that are seen experimentally for time-independent (constant motion), time-periodic, and time-aperiodic flows. These results are examined with the use of burning invariant manifolds that act as one-way barriers to front motion in the flows. We also explore the usefulness of finite-time Lyapunov exponent fields as an instrument for analyzing front propagation behavior in a fluid flow.
Gowen, Savannah and Solomon, Thomas H. “Experimental Studies of Coherent Structures in an Advection-Reaction-Diffusion System.” Chaos (Woodbury, N.Y.) 25, no. 8 (2015) : 087403.